Parliament has published the results of its latest EU-wide opinion poll, which looks at how much EU citizens know about the European Parliament and their opinions about how it works and what its priorities should be. The headline figures are broadly stable compared with previous surveys, but the poll also shows substantial variation between the different Member States.
Looking across the survey as a whole, the social breakdown is perhaps the most striking: more men than women say they are aware of European Parliament matters; people from the more affluent social classes have a better knowledge of Parliament than others; the best informed age group, by their own assessment, is 40-54, while the youngest age group feels itself least well informed.
An increased role for the European Parliament?
Compared to previous surveys, more people answered correctly that MEPs sit in political groups rather than by nationality. There were contrasting views on Parliament’s image with more of those expressing an opinion saying the institution is “democratic” and “efficient” than not, but fewer describing it as “dynamic” or “listening to citizens”. Some 52 per cent overall favoured an increased role for the European Parliament. There was wide variation between EU countries on these measures and responses overall were more polarised than in the past.
Human rights and gender equality as priorities
Asked about the values Parliament should defend, the survey puts protection of human rights at the top, with gender equality and freedom of speech in joint second place. More people than in the past gave priority to “solidarity between Member States”, which is in fourth place. A recent (separate) survey on policy priorities put “tackling poverty and social exclusion” top, followed by consumer protection.
Information on the EP: major differences between Member States
The poll asked whether people have read or heard about the Parliament in the media (59 per cent said they had) and whether they feel themselves to be well informed about Parliament’s activities (28 per cent gave a positive response). Here too, the poll shows major differences between Member States – of up to 36 percentage points from highest to lowest.